WORDS AND IMAGES BY THOMAS FREEMAN
Bungwahl’s own Vanilla Gorilla just dropped their new single ‘Feel the Fire’ and to celebrate, the band launched the single on 23 April at Newcastle City Hall. Joined by Mild West, Dyer Maker and The Hamilton Alpine Club, it was a fun night for the audience with a great variety of music styles and performances from the four bands.
Vanilla Gorilla killed it on stage, performing their latest music as well as some older tracks. The crowd really got into the music, and with a lot of the audience members being strong fans of the band, it filled the room with a pretty great energy. It was also really cool to see how versatile the band are, with multiple guitars, synths, drums, bass and even a digeridoo helping bring the band’s sound to the venue. City Hallwas a nice venue for the gig, making for some great lighting in Vanilla Gorilla’s set. I would have liked to have seen a bit more interaction between the band and the audience, especially with the promotion of their new single but nevertheless, the crowd were having an awesome time (especially now that we can stand again), and this is really clear through the encore at the end of their set. If you’re a fan of Ocean Alley, definitely give these guys a listen.
Mild West, another band from the Mid North Coast and a band that I’ve been lucky enough to have seen before, were another big highlight from the night. They’re a band with a unique aesthetic, bringing together a typical indie-rock outfit with an electric cello, multiple synths and some pads, resulting in some pretty enjoyable music (bit of a Methyl Ethel vibe). I loved how their frontman really went crazy with the guitar with every chance that he got, and it made their set super entertaining. The rest of the band was also super tight on the night, making Mild West a band that gets better each time you see them, and also one that might be worth keeping an eye out for.
Maitland’s Dyer Maker were second to perform on the night. They’re a band that I was a lot more unfamiliar with prior to the gig, but really managed to enjoy their music quite a bit in their set. The elements of rock, funk and reggae blended together really smoothly, and they performed it super well too. They used the space on stage really effectively, giving a lot of movement between the members, and I loved how the frontman would also pick up the whole mic stand occasionally, as well as roam free with it too. Their Rage Against The Machine cover was also another unexpected highlight from the night.
The Hamilton Alpine Club opened up the night, giving a unique mixture of funk, soul and jazz. Despite having a smaller crowd at the start of their set, the band didn’t see this as a setback and really went with the intimate vibe in the room. The people that did come in after the band had started really got into the music too, which was great to see. I think the band could have produced a more polished set, but despite a few awkward song intros, The Hamilton Alpine Club did stick the landing with opening up the night.
Local bands launching their latest music will always be some of the best gigs to attend, and Vanilla Gorilla’s single launch was no exception to this. There was an awesome vibe from the headliners and from the crowd, and all of the bands managed to get the crowd up and dancing multiple times. It’s always a great sign when each band at a gig gives the audience something quite different and also give you the feeling of wanting to see them live again.